Almost one year after Delta Air Lines discontinued its Meeting Network, U.S. Airways — newly merged with America West — is scaling back its services to meeting planners.
According to a letter sent to U.S. Airways clients in September, the airline “recently completed an evaluation of our meeting product and concluded that we will no longer offer this product for meetings held within the contiguous United States and Canada.” The letter goes on to explain that the airline will continue to offer group services for other international destinations.
Yvonne Long, senior vice president of Air Fulfillment Services in Des Moines, Iowa, calls U.S. Airways' decision to drop domestic meeting“crazy,” and she predicts fewer group bookings on those airlines. “If they are less organized internally, it makes it hard to work with them, “she says. “I just don't understand the philosophy — you take some of your most valued supporters and you make yourself difficult to deal with.”
American Airlines tells a different story. Alynne Hanford, national sales manager, groups and company meetings, American Airlines, says her company remains committed to keeping its meeting department. “We've been able to show management how valuable it is,” says Hanford, who focuses on the insurance and financial services market. “We really believe in it and stand behind it.”